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  • Getty Image

10 essential CATWALK TRENDS

Lurex knits, Victoriana via Mexican girl gangs, and the items that define the season – here are the top catwalk trends not to miss this autumn/winter.

If one item defines this season it’s the floor-length coat. A penny for every floor-dusting number that came down the runway, from New York to Paris, would probably afford you the military navy one that opened the Chloé show, or maybe one of the Little Red Riding Hood red or apple green cocoon cashmere numbers at Dior. You’d be wise to invest in one, although beware of the proportion – even though cool sneakers would play nicely off the coat’s luxurious feel, heels would ensure you’re not swamped, tall boots as seen at Calvin Klein would be even better, and belting it in makes playing with volume easier (check Marc Jacobs). For a perennial classic go for a long but light trenchcoat like Dries Van Noten’s.

80s feeling at Loewe, Getty Images.

2. 1980S REMAKE
Talk about a conversation changer. While most designers were still riding last season’s 1970s wave, Hedi Slimane and JW Anderson were already onto the next one. If you thought you knew the Eighties, think again. The LA rock chic(k) aesthetic that Hedi Slimane has ushered in at Saint Laurent (leather jackets; short, tight, ripped everything else) had a distinct “Siouxsie Sioux” punk flavour this season. For a more put-together and/or SFW (Safe For Work) take, look no further than Loewe under Jonathan Anderson. After experimenting with the decade at his namesake label, he did the unthinkable and made shiny leather blousons tucked into grey oversized trousers and metallic lamé shirtdresses worn over them look cool. For an easy way into the trend, try cinching in all that volume with bright plastic chain belts. Very Dynasty!

During a season in which long floaty dresses were ubiquitous, the appearance of a sleek, cool and sophisticated jumpsuit – or two – on the runway signalled a change in thinking about eveningwear. If you remain unconvinced of its merits, consider it as the no-fuss, all-fun alternative. Case in point: the silk satin number that stole the show at Jason Wu, or that low-cut velvet jumpsuit at Sonia Rykiel that practically demanded a dance-off under a disco ball. It’s multi-tasking, too: Stella McCartney’s loose and cropped (read: easy), off-the-shoulder (read: kinda sexy) grey tweed version would be great for the office. Or how about Chloé’s navy scallop-edged flightsuit for the Amelia Earhart in all of us? 

Black is not back, because it never went away. However, this season it had a particular flair for the dramatic. Thom Browne’s show in New York may have been inspired by mourning attire, but every intricate piece, from the tailoring to zip-lined dresses, was joyous. Givenchy’s Victoriana via Mexico’s girl gangs was a masterclass in how to wear this trend – contrasting lush fabrics such as rich velvet with delicate lace, and letting the silhouette do the talking with flouncy skirts and structured jackets. Alexander Wang’s punk take meant studs on everything, and goth metal boots to stomp all that teenage angst away.

Happy suit from H&M Studio, Getty Images.

Colour therapy for your tailoring. That’s what Miuccia Prada prescribed this season, and when Dottoressa Prada talks, everyone listens! The power of pulling a soothing pastel or a cheery bold-hued blazer out of your wardrobe on a drab winter’s day is unarguable, so why not go ahead and wear it head to toe? From Prada’s sugary pastels and tweeds on Sixties trouser suits – boxy double-breasted jackets and cropped, slightly flared trousers – to Delpozo’s bolder, looser mix-and-match separates, and Cedric Charlier’s delicious apple green and aubergine pairings, the palette is delicious. A trend that’s actually good for you!

Now and then at the shows, a small trend will emerge with the potential to simplify your life – or at least the dressing part of it. Consider the base top: a staple that will go under anything you wear. The crisp white shirt was given a crucial supporting role at Junya Watanabe, where it acted as a springboard for his incredible and elaborate creations. At Altuzarra, wispy lace and ruffled blouses peeked from underneath trimmed jackets and low-neck dresses; at Carven, little shirts with cloud motifs appeared under blazers and crew-neck sweaters. Even more second-skin is the light rollneck top, as seen at Carven and Thakoon, that allows you to wear that pretty dress without catching a cold. Clever.

After a few seasons of stacking up minimal gold pieces, jewellery is having a more-is-more moment. These are pieces handed down the generations, salvaged from estate sales or acquired after a delve into your cool aunt’s jewellery box. From 1950s bakelite flower earrings at Miu Miu or pearl and crystal clusters at Céline to royal crest brooches at Balenciaga and Chanel, the options are endless, as long as you position them in unusual places. Céline’s jewels adorned the side of the shoes, for example and, as for Givenchy’s pearls, well… every inch of the models’ faces!

Gladiator hybrids at Giambattista Valli, Getty Images.

Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 classic These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ came to mind more than once this season, though the boots shown everywhere from New York to Paris were not just made for walking but stealing the show. Your trusted ankle boots can take a break. A simple and slim, shiny black pair like those seen at Calvin Klein, or brown lace-ups like Chloé’s will do you just fine, and work with everything from 1960s short skirts to 1970s boho dresses, although Rodarte’s pirate boots and Giambattista Valli’s gladiator sandal hybrids were quite something to behold. As for Dior’s trippy swirly thigh-highs and Emilio Pucci’s sequinned go-go boots, these were very much of the “walk all over you” type.

Stevie Nicks was this season’s It girl. Pictures of her must have been pinned on countless inspiration boards. The Californian rock star of the Seventies, with her messy bangs, low-cut floaty dresses and penchant for white lace, encapsulates designers’ continuing obsession with boho. It was everywhere, from Chloé to Burberry to Anna Sui (naturally) and beyond. Floor-length tissue-thin chiffon and lace dresses, hippie prints, patchwork knitwear and loose velvet trousers, slim silk scarves and a healthy dose of shearling – what’s not to love? You may want to avoid venturing into costume territory by only opting for one or two of the above at a time. Add healthy messy hair and natural makeup, and maybe leave the patchouli oil behind!

Blame it on the kids. Young designers are using irony to make shiny, shimmering fabrics such as lurex and lamé cool again. At Gucci, Alessandro Michele paired an absinthe green pleated lamé skirt with a borrowed-from-grandma blouse. At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson plundered mum’s Working Girl wardrobe with his printed lamé dresses and lurex knits. Christopher Kane showed that a body-hugging lurex knit and a knife-pleated lamé skirt are actually key pieces. Elsewhere, designers played with reflective gloss: futuristic at Christian Dior and H&M Studio, more disco-ball shiny at Bottega Veneta and Sonia Rykiel, where a pair of metallic trousers could have doubled as a mirror.